Radio Shack, I Miss You

Radio Shack batteries bought 02-22-2015 in WPB

I had to shoot a video the other day. My routine is to charge up all the camera batteries, clean off the memory cards, swap out the digital recorder batteries, and to make sure the remote mikes work.

When I was doing the mike check, I found that one of the button batteries was dead, so I reached into my battery stash, confident that I had at least three spares. My confidence was a bit shaken when I saw the once-familiar Radio Shack emblem.

How old ARE those?

I thought back a bit and remembered that I had stocked up on odds and ends when the West Palm Beach Radio Shack close to the house was going out of business in February of 2015.

That made the cells a bit long in the tooth, particularly since all of them looked like some innards gunk had oozed out over the years.

Nowhere like it left

Radio Shack lost its way over the years. It wasn’t sure if it was a source of cheap electronic components, a toy store or a cellphone retailer. In the end, it became none of those.

Still, I can’t think of anyplace where I can pop in for some oddball piece or part. I like places like the Best Buy in Cape for consumer goods, but you can’t get components there.

More Rat Shacks than Mickey D’s?

I read somewhere in the ’70s that there were more Radio Shack stores in the USA than McDonald’s. Even though almost all of them carried the same thing, I found myself browsing in stores wherever I traveled. It might be for tips on what radio frequencies to monitor or for wiring and connectors to make my gizmos work.

If nothing else, there was always one salesdroid who possessed a bit of the geek to nerd out with.

P.S. I ended up having to order replacement batteries from Amazon.

7 Replies to “Radio Shack, I Miss You”

  1. I am very fortunate that I had the pleasure of serving your mother on several occasions at the Jackson dealer. I know what you mean, I wish I would have bought a few more packs of the phenolic plastic 9 volt battery connectors to replace the cheap vinyl ones that rip.

    Audio and video adapters as well, when you needed them right away.

  2. Yeah, Ken – I was one of those nerds for a while in 1972-73. And now it’s impossible to make any small electronics projects (such as for my model train layout) without thinking ahead far enough that you don’t pay more for shipping than the parts!!!

  3. Well Ken you Radio Shack story brought back memories for me, not about Radio Shack but Palm Beach. In November 19 55 I was finishing up a tour in the Philippines when I got orders to report to Palm Beach Air Force Base, FL. What incredible news that was.
    I was overjoyed. PBAFB was an old WWII training base with
    C-124 cargo aircraft and jet pilot training missions. I was there all of 1956 and liked the town and state so well that I ended up at the University of Florida, graduated and returned to the Air Force as an officer. Joe Schlue, Col, USAF (Ret) Central Class of 1952

    PS: Palm Beach Air Force Base later became the location for the Palm Beach International Airport.

  4. I am not real Radio Shack Geek, I do miss the place…there is no place like it anywhere today! When something electronic broke, you soulc always go there and get the part or good advise of what to buy next! Sniff…all gone now!

  5. In my early years of dabbling in electronics, there was no Radio Shack in Cape. For me it was seeing Walt Collins at Radionics 815 Broadway, or better yet, Clarence or Dub Suedekum at Suedekum Electronics, 2215 Broadway. Those three were very supportive of me and truly fostered my interest in electronics. I remember Suedekum’s had some funny signs posted behind the counter like, “For Sale 1939 Henway” and “Quality is like buying oats. If you want good, clean, oats expect to pay a fair price. If you are willing to settle for oats that have already been through the horse, they do come a lot cheaper.”

    1. Suedekum electronics brought back memories of the 70’s! I remember Mr D. at the Cape Girardeau vocational class used to let us leave the classroom to buy resistors, capacitors, vacuum tubes or what ever we needed for the shop. I loved looking at the Heath kits and other items to be assembled.

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